Hollywood stars walked a champagne-colored carpet at the Oscars Sunday as organizers aimed to keep the spotlight on “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and other nominated films that brought crowds back to cinemas.
There were no unexpected twists, but a crisis response team was on hand at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The group was formed after Will Smith smacked Chris Rock on stage last year, tarnishing the film industry’s most prestigious ceremony.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” logged seven wins, including Best Picture, Best Directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Best Actress, Michelle Yeoh and Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis.
The other major award went to Best Actor Brendan Fraser, who played a severely obese man in “The Whale.”
In this, the 95th Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences hoped to move past the slap and stage a glitzy show with new elements to attract younger viewers and boost sagging TV ratings.
The show began at 5 p.m. Pacific time and was broadcast live on the Walt Disney Co’s ABC network. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel returned as host for the third time.
Producers said they planned to celebrate the moviegoing rebound of the past year, one that some feared might never happen when streaming took hold during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several of 2022’s biggest hits at the multiplex landed in the best picture race, from “Top Gun” and “Everything Everywhere” to “Elvis” and “Avatar: The Way of Water.”
“Among our nominees are films that have not just hit the heart but also generated box office,” said producer Glenn Weiss. “We’re looking to really elevate that point.”
The big films on the ballot, rather than some of the little-seen movies nominated in recent years, could help draw more viewers.
Last year, the television audience for the Academy Awards ranked as the second-lowest ever with 16.6 million viewers.
One novelty: QR codes flashed on TV screens ahead of commercial breaks with links to two- to-three minute videos about nominees. Organizers hoped that sharing information about the contenders gave viewers people to root for and keep them watching.
To change up the look, organizers swapped out the traditional red carpet for the first time since 1961, opting instead for a champagne color. The stars’ entrance was covered by a dark tent that will give the appearance of nighttime glamour.
“Everything Everywhere All at Once,” an offbeat story about a Chinese-American laundromat owner struggling to finish her taxes, came in as the favorite to win Best Picture. The dimension-hopping kung fu adventure has swept the major Hollywood awards in the weeks leading up to the Oscars.
Yeoh faced off in the actress category with Cate Blanchett, who played a devious orchestra conductor in “Tar.” Actor had gone down to the wire, between “Elvis” star Austin Butler and Fraser.
Quan led the supporting actor race for his role as Yeoh’s disgruntled husband in “Everything Everywhere …” A child star in a 1984 “Indiana Jones” movie, Quan quit acting for two decades because he saw little opportunity for Asian actors. Harrison Ford, who made Indiana Jones a household name, announced the Best Picture win, and he and Quan happily embraced onstage decades after they originally worked together.
Angela Bassett had been considered the favorite for supporting actress for her portrayal of Queen Ramonda in the Marvel movie “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” but Curtis, the former “Scream Queen” with ties to Old Hollywood, overtook her.
Winners are voted on by the roughly 10,000 actors, producers, directors and film craftspeople who make up the film academy.
Among the night’s musical performances, pop superstar Rihanna sang her nominated song “Lift Me Up” from “Wakanda Forever.”
All of the awards for film craftspeople will be handed out live. Last year, some were announced before the broadcast to try to keep the show to three hours. That caused a backlash from behind-the-scenes workers and did not result in a shorter show. The 2022 telecast ran three hours and 40 minutes.
Updated 10:25 p.m. March 12, 2023